Darkstalkers Resurrection joins the ranks of countless arcade ports on home consoles, which bundle together a handful of arcade-accurate games with minor HD upconversion for mass consumption. WB Games did it with Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection and Capcom has done it with a few of their Street Fighter entries. Now, they’re going a little more obscure—and occult—by bringing together Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge and Darkstalkers 3 in one handy-dandy download. While inexplicably lacking the original Darkstalkers (huh?), there’s plenty of fast-paced fighting goodness to be found in this collection, along with some wonderful enhancements that pretty much raise the bar for this sort of “update” in the future.
Darkstalkers was borne of the post-Street Fighter II era of Japanese fighting games, which provided a brutal, breakneck speed coupled with scads of extras like cancels and EX moves which would take far too long to explain here. The creamy topping on the frenetic fighting was a unique, supernatural vibe that filled its ranks with werewolves, succubi, cat-people (insert David Bowie reference here), yetis, and heavy metal zombies. It spawned two sequels (the games featured in Darkstalkers Resurrection) as well as one of the most maligned American cartoon adaptations of the 90’s. But I digress.
To be totally blunt, if you’re not into the lightning pacing of Japanese fighting games (these games make Mortal Kombat feel positively glacial by comparison), then you’re not going to care much for the HD upgrade. However, fans will be delightfully surprised by just how genuinely upgraded the games are. Sure, there’s the obligatory HD filters (which make the sprites seem blobby and smeary…turn it off), but all of the extras that have been stacked on are well executed and very welcome.
There are tutorials, training modes, a leveling system based off of in-game accomplishments (winning matches, cancels, number of projectiles thrown, etc.), and a remarkable system that integrates single and multiplayer. At any point during your single player game, you have the option to have other players challenge you to a ranked match…definitely a pleasant upgrade over waiting in a matchmaking lobby. There are also scads of bonus content to be earned through completing aforementioned accomplishments. This is the sort of stuff to get fans worked up into a proper lather, and Capcom and Iron Galaxy have certainly provided the soap.
For old-school Darkstalkers fans, this dual pack is worth every bit of virtual currency you’ll spend to get it. This walk down moribund memory lane has cemented two things in this reviewer’s mind: one, I suck at Japanese fighting games, and two, Darkstalkers is sorely in need of a Street Fighter IV style revisiting.